Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Master of Theology, New Testament, Thesis
Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to study the concept of "once for all" in the book of Hebrews. The passage focused upon is Hebrews 7:26-28, due to the first appearance in this epistle of the word ἐφάπαξ ("once for all"). The thesis begins by proposing a rationale for study and methodological overview within a comparative framework, wherein the author of Hebrews refers to the sacrifice of Christ in comparison with the perpetual sacrifices in the Old Testament. Subsequently, a historical overview of scholarship on the topic follows, especially with regards to the topic of the sacrificial system laid out. After an exegetical analysis of Hebrews, the words ἐφάπαξ and ἅπαξ are studied as well as their related concepts in Hebrews. In the next chapter, the five Levitical offerings are briefly introduced, and the continual and repetitive sacrifices that Hebrews referred to are analyzed and compared with references in the Old Testament and extra-biblical ancient documents. Building upon the above studies, several other passages in Hebrews that refer to the sacrificial system are analyzed in the subsequent chapter. The final chapter applies the concept of "once for all" to contemporary Christian life and soteriology.